The Cleanse, and The Clean-Out

Don’t let the title of this blog post frighten you; the clean-out involves only the refrigerator. The Cleanse is over, and the leftovers must be dealt with.

The last dinner of the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse, White Bean Chili with Winter Vegetables, was full of spicy, southwestern chili flavor, but I would not call it “chili”.

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Sure, it looks like chili now, but I had to take a potato masher to it, to give it a chili-like texture. Made according to the recipe, it was really a white bean and winter vegetable soup, which is fine, but it’s not chili. You can’t just throw beans into a soup and call it chili. But it did have great chili flavor, with cumin, oregano, and ground ancho chiles. The avocado and cilantro gave it freshness, and I added the lime wedges as well, because it needed a touch of acidity, and because I had a lime left over that needed used.

Which brings us to the clean-out. I’ve mentioned the leftovers. The Husband has been working on some of the leftovers as lunches for work, and I’ve been eating them too, but there’s still a lot of food left. So, time to get creative.

First up is the big batch of caramelized onions that was hardly used during the Cleanse. (o_0)

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I can’t complain too much; I knew exactly where these were going.

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To some leftover homemade chicken stock, I added some beef bouillon base along with the onions, simmered it all for a bit to heat it up and blend the flavors, and it became French Onion Soup.

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A slice of toasted French bread, a handful of grated Gruyere cheese, and a few minutes under the broiler finished it off, and it was time to eat. The soup had big, rich flavor from the broth, the wine-and-thyme-infused onions, and the nutty, salty Gruyere. It was piping hot, and it’s very cold here today, so it’s just what I needed to feel cosy. I love French Onion Soup, and knowing it’s in the fridge just makes me happy.

So, while the Cleanse did not seem to cleanse my body in any appreciable way, it has cleansed my palate, and left me with a clean slate, creatively speaking. My kitchen and brain have felt bogged down and bloated, and using the Cleanse menu and recipes to refocus has given me new creative energy and reignited my passion for sharing my ideas here. Next up, leftover salmon, and a second pass at one of the Cleanse dishes.

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